BACKGROUND: In an era of medical cost containment, cost-effectiveness has become a major focus in healthcare. The effect of a new policy on the use of low fresh gas flow during maintenance of general anesthesia with volatile anesthetics was evaluated. METHODS: The numbers and duration of general anesthesia cases using sevoflurane 5 weeks prior to and 15 weeks after policy implementation were retrieved from the electronic medical records database. The number of sevoflurane bottles consumed was also assessed. The anesthesia hours per bottle of sevoflurane were compared before and after policy implementation. RESULTS: The number of anesthesia hours performed per bottle of sevoflurane increased by 38.3%. The effect varied over time and tended to fade with time. CONCLUSIONS: The implementation of a low fresh gas flow rate policy effectively reduces the amount of sevoflurane consumed for the same duration of anesthesia.